Millwall 2-1 Town
Saturday, 15th Jan 2011 17:10
Tamás Priskin netted the first goal of the Paul Jewell era but Millwall came from behind to run out 2-1 winners at the Den. Priskin’s superb finish put the Blues ahead but the home side struck back before the break via Danny Schofield and Steve Morison scored the winner 15 minutes from the end.
New manager Paul Jewell kept the side which shocked Arsenal in midweek, only switching Jason Scotland, Luke Hyam and Rory Fallon for Ronan Murray, Conor Hourihane and Reggie Lambe on the bench. Millwall included ex-Blue Scott Barron but Liam Trotter missed out with a back injury and on-loan Town striker was unavailable under the terms of his temporary move.
After a lively start, it was Millwall had the first chance, Steve Morison finding Alan Dunne in space on the edge of the area but the full-back, playing in midfield for the injury-hit Lions, smashed over.
The home side had the better of the opening stages in very windy conditions against a Town team wearing their red away strip from last season, the blue and black current kits both close to Millwall’s dark blue.
Town went in front with their first chance of the game in the 25th minute, Carlos Edwards playing a ball into the path of Tamás Priskin, who out-paced Tony Craig as he took it away from goal before cutting back across keeper David Forde and into the net for his seventh goal of the season, and second at the Den.
The Lions might have got on terms three minutes later when Fülöp missed a Barron corner from the right and Morison slammed the ball into the stanchion at the far post.
Referee Iain Williamson spoke to Town pair Márton Fülöp and Mark Kennedy after they had gone head to head in the 35th minute, the veteran Irishman having reacted angrily to Fülöp again failing to deal with a cross. The Hungarian keeper, who was finding the conditions difficult, pushed his head against his team-mate’s in a manner which might have led to a red card if it had been an opponent. As it was, after the two made up, the ref left it at a brief word.
Town should have made it two in the 37th minute when a Jaime Peters cross from the right was caught by the wind, beat Forde and struck the bar. The loose ball fell to Priskin, who volleyed wide from six yards when he should have scored. The Hungarian got his name in the referee’s book two minutes later for kicking the ball away before a Millwall freekick.
Harris headed a Barron cross over on 41, but as the game moved into injury time, the home side equalised, Danny Schofield shooting low past Fülöp after Harris had nodded a long ball down to him on the edge of the area.
Delaney was booked for a foul on Morison soon after, prior to the Lions’ striker having a golden opportunity to put his side in front. Barron crossed from the left after Carlos Edwards had been caught in possession just outside the area, but fortunately for the Blues, the former Stevenage man blazed wildly over from six yards when completely unmarked.
The 1-1 scoreline at the break wasn’t too unfair, although Millwall will feel they had the better of it overall and had created more chances. Both sides had taken one of their opportunities but Priskin and Morison were both guilty of missing chances far easier than the goals which had been scored.
The swirling wind had been a significant factor on the game but it was difficult to tell whether it had made shooting in one direction particularly advantageous over the other with both keepers struggling at times.
The home side were again close to getting their noses in front three minutes into the second half. Henry’s corner from the left reached Morison, whose shot was blocked by Peters after McAuley had initially failed to clear. Soon after, Barron forced Fülöp into a save with a 25-yard freekick to the keeper’s left.
Town had threatened little since the break but might have had an opportunity in the 56th minute when McAuley beat Forde in the air but the ball fell safely for Millwall. The Town defender required treatment having been on the end of the keeper’s punch. At the other end, Fülöp saved comfortably to his left from Henry.
The Lions were continuing to have much the better of the second period and Morison and half-time sub Chris Hackett had shots blocked inside the area either side of the hour mark. On 63 Fülöp was off his line quickly to dive at Morison’s feet.
Town were inches from going back in front in the 67th minute when Healy sent in a dangerous cross from the right but too far ahead of Priskin and Wickham, who moments earlier had hit a deflected shot through to Forde. The 17-year-old, whose influence on the game was starting to grow, had by now joined Priskin up front with Kennedy on the left of midfield.
The home side went in front with 15 minutes remaining. Hackett sent in a cross from the right and Morison stole in behind the Town backline to beat Fülöp from close range with Gareth McAuley appealing in vain for an offside flag. Town boss Paul Jewell reacted immediately by swapping Kennedy for Jason Scotland, the Trinidadian joining Priskin up front with Wickham again going wide.
Barron was yellow-carded for kicking the ball away at a freekick, probably harshly, as the game moved into its final 10 minutes.
Town had threatened little in the second period but as the match entered its final five minutes the Blues began to look dangerous from set pieces, McAuley forcing Forde to save a header from a corner.
Paul Jewell’s men should have got on terms in injury time when Scotland was played in one-on-one with Forde by O’Dea, but the keeper was out quickly to block, referee Williamson blowing his whistle a minute later.
Town had huffed and puffed in the closing stages but aside from Scotland’s chance they had created very little and the home side deserved the win on the balance of a second half less affected by the wind. Morison finally took an opportunity for the home side, having missed one or two others earlier on.
Perhaps unsurprisingly the Blues looked tired in the second period when they were generally on the back foot against a Millwall side sharper than in the previous two games between the sides this season.
While Wednesday’s victory over Arsenal was a marvellous bonus, new manager Jewell knows his main job is getting the Blues back on track in the league, and today’s result and performance, which leaves the Blues 20th, will give him much to think about.
Town: Fülöp, Peters, O’Dea, Delaney, McAuley, Kennedy (Scotland 75), Norris, Healy, Edwards, Wickham, Priskin. Unused: Lee-Barrett, Hyam, Smith, Eastman, Fallon, Civelli.
Millwall: Forde, Smith, Barron, Craig (Hackett 46), Ward, Dunne, Abdou, Henry, Schofield, Harris (Robinson 71), Morison. Unused: Mildenhall, Grabban, O’Connor, Marquis, Gallagher. Referee: Iain Williamson (Berkshire). Att: 12,111 (Town: 928).
Photo: Action Images
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